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Most people aren’t going to debate whether or not the deadlift is a fantastic strength builder. It recruits more muscle fibers than just about any other exercise, and trains your body to work as a unit.
This strength tends to carry over well into real-life functional strength, which of course is great for your health. You can stay stronger and more active as you age, compared to most people. If you have a strong lower back, and a strong core, you will decrease your risk of injury.
Having a strong grip transfers well over into just about anything in life.
Deadlifts are great.
Deadlifts Are Also Great For Size
“But deadlifts don’t stimulate all muscles optimally”
True, but I think you’re missing out severely if you don’t perform the deadlift. The sheer amount of muscle fiber recruitment means that you’re missing virtually nothing. Everything gets hit to some degree. Your weak points are targeted. All the stabilising muscles are targeted.
The deadlift may not hit any given muscle optimally, however it will probably stimulate about 50-80% potential growth. That’s 50-80% of potential growth in a HUGE number of muscles. Any weaknesses you have, you can then finish off afterwards.
This means that after a couple of taxing sets on the deadlift, there really isn’t a huge amount of assistance work you really need to do. This will vary from person to person depending upon your goals, but because you essentially hit five birds with one stone, the deadlift is actually a magnificent time saver.
Very important if you’re a busy guy.
The difference between doing deadlifts versus not doing them, from a hypertrophic standpoint, is that all the little muscles will be hit fairly hard. Whereas, when doing pull ups or pull downs for example, these stabilisers will barely even be used.
This will thicken your back up in a way that smaller exercises will never be able to do.
Because so many muscles are forced to work hard during a deadlift (you’re as strong as your weakest link), everything gets bigger and stronger. Not just your lower back, traps and glutes. Everything.
What Is The Catch?
The catch is that, firstly, you need to know how to deadlift properly. I would advise you to stay away from deadlifting heavy for several months, whilst you train the movement several times per week, lightly. Otherwise, say hello to injuries due to bad form.
Secondly, it’s very taxing, regardless of how good your form is. This impacts your peripheral nervous system (in particular), and also your joints.
This means you want to limit the volume you perform on deadlifts. Ideally, deadlifting 1-2 times per week in a calorie surplus will get you big, over time. But never go to failure. Going to failure on deadlifts is never worth it, as it means the rest of your training for that week will completely suck ass.
If your grip seems unusually weak for several sessions in a row, it’s time for a deload.
- The deadlift hits a ridiculous number of small muscles. Muscles that will not be hit by any other exercise, at least not without doing about 15 different variations (and wasting a shit-load of time).
- It makes you strong as hell, and this will carry over well into real-life. You will have more energy, strength and vitality, minimising the ageing process.
- However, it takes a while to master the movement, and you need to limit the total volume. Preferably spread it out over a couple of sessions instead of destroying yourself in one, particularly if you have other physical goals.